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Pat Sullivan explains how some Mother's Day flowers have evolved

Mother's Day weekend is typically the busiest weekend of the year in a garden center.

INDIANAPOLIS — Pat Sullivan from Sullivan Hardware and Garden said Mother's Day weekend is traditionally the busiest weekend of the year in a garden center.

In Indiana, "We always know that frost-free date is probably around Mother's Day -- it's around May 8th or May 10th -- it's a little later this year because Mother's Day is as late (on the calendar) as it can be," said Sullivan.

Since so many customers are buying flowers this weekend, Sullivan took the opportunity to explain on 13Sunrise how some varieties have evolved to better, more hardy versions of their original selves.


"The good old wax begonia," Sullivan said used to be known as "the aluminum siding of bedding plants." But the dragon wing variety came along, and didn't need a lot of water to grow. Now, even more varieties of begonias are gaining popularity.


Geraniums start from a cutting and look beautiful. One variety, called a calliope geranium, produces a mounding plant that's attractive in a hanging basket or porch planter moreso than the original zonal version.


"We still sell a ton of impatiens," said Sullivan, which are great for large, shady areas in a landscape. 

Through decades of trial and error, horticulturists developed a sun-tolerant version aptly named sunpatiens that withstand southern exposures. 

"We actually threw some out on Keystone and tortured them," Sullivan said, "and they responded really well."


"They go up, then lay over," Sullivan said of the original variety. Then they came out with the wave version that does better planted along the ground rather than in a pot because it does not bloom along its stem. The subsequent easy wave and supertunia versions do bloom on their stems and look better in baskets and planters.

Watch Sullivan's full 13Sunrise segment in the video player.

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